In Philly, we're hyper aware of the long-running FX (now FXX) situational comedy, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We stop by Mac's Tavern to throw a few back. We see a million Paddy's Pub T-shirts walking down Broad Street every weekend. We hear at least one "Fat Mac" joke a week on the streets or in the office.
But, outside of Philly residents and television nerds, the It's Always Sunny gang gets no respect. The show has never won an Emmy—a topic which the gang tackled in an episode of the current season—and doesn't pull the viewership you'd expect from a show that's halfway through its ninth season. And it was relegated to FX's new comedy outlet, FXX.
Maybe things are turning around, though, as The New Yorker's Emily Nussbaum went out of her way to praise the show in the magazine's November issue. She compares it to Charlie's favorite "milk-steak," calling it the "perfect food that no one has heard of." Nussbaum goes on to draw comparisons to Monty Python and 30 Rock and critical hit Louie.
Further, though, Nussbaum takes a look at It's Always Sunny's content, mentioning its messages and complimenting its satire.
The show’s unusual approach was apparent from the first episode, which was titled “The Gang Gets Racist” but ended up being about the gang getting homophobic. Over the years, titles have included “Charlie Got Molested,” “The Gang Finds a Dumpster Baby,” “Frank Sets Sweet Dee on Fire,” “The Gang Exploits the Mortgage Crisis,” and “The Gang Solves the North Korea Situation,” as if the writers were determined to destroy the convention of “very special episodes.” This season, in the aftermath of Newtown, the second episode, “Gun Fever Too: Still Hot,” managed to satirize both sides of the gun-control debate in ways that were both funny and insightful, which may be the sitcom equivalent of a perfectly landed quadruple axel at the Olympics. In Season 6, the show also aired television’s most unnerving rape joke, a who’s-on-first dialogue involving the repeated phrase “because of the implication,” a sequence that took as its target the delusional mind-set of the rapist, not the rapee. [The New Yorker]
Much like Philly itself, It's Always Sunny has developed a national reputation of being somehow inferior to its peers. But, as Nussbaum points—and as Philadelphians know all too well—the absence of critical acclaim doesn't necessarily negate something's worth.